Friday, April 02, 2010

Guitar Friday 7

Or: "Ma, my guitar amp keeps barking at me!"

On Wednesday we in the Tyrannosaurus Mouse attempted to prove or disprove the theory of sending the guitar signal to two amplifiers at the same time -- one dirty and one clean -- with the 400ms of analog delay going to the clean amp.

And that seemed to work pretty well even in a band situation. The big fear with delay, of course, is that it'll muddy everything up. But that doesn't seem to be as big a problem as it could have been. Delay to the clean amp only? That works.

I used a Fender Twin '65(?) reissue as the clean amp at Complete Music. For the dirty amp I was using the clean channel of an 80(?)-watt Traynor (with the gain cranked all the way up.)

The only thing that didn't work for me so great is that the Twin, like my own Twin, kept barking at me. Certain notes are much louder than others and as you lean into the notes harder it can suddenly get MUCH louder and it's really just impossible to control. Honestly I like the "virtual" Fender Twin in my Peavey Vypyr better than a real Fender Twin. I know, heresy, right? Sure if you listen to the Twin all alone you can hear the extra bit of "wood" and organic-ness that makes a real tube amp. But in a band? Yark. Or, in this case, "bark".

Remember when I went on and on about the beauty of that Blankenship Fatboy I played a week ago. No bark. Just beautiful compression cleanly leading up to the lovliest saturation. I might just give up girls for that*.

I wrote to Roy Blankenship about the amp (and the possibility of getting it in a "head" version). He wrote back to me right away and said this:

The Fatboy Supreme is a hybrid circuit, half British, half American. It is available in a 22 watt format. I believe in having a stiff power supply so the amp will deliver when you hit it, this makes a 36 watt amp like you played seem louder than its actual power. I have made head versions in the past, this would be available as a special order item. The price is the same, the deletion of the speaker compensates for the extra cost of the custom cabinet. You will be able to order this through Rudy's, just let them know that we had this conversation and they will place the order for you.

That's some awesome customer service, no? The amplifier business is a business of love. If you don't love it, you don't want to be in it. I'm not saying there aren't a bunch of crazy people in the business, just that there are some awesome people like Roy too.

Anyway, back to me and my guitar setup. Ethan thought it sounded good. And considering how hard it is to get Ethan to think that a guitarist actually sounds good, that's quite an achievement. He also felt that the delay actually worked to make the band sound bigger and better. I'm afraid the real reason the band sounds better is because I've actually been practicing -- so the guitar player for Tyrannosaurus Mouse doesn't suck nearly as much as he used to.

Only listen to this if you're really high. Seven minutes, two chords. I'm just sayin'. This is really just for Ethan, Lou, and me to listen to in order to figure out "where we are" as a band and what kinds of things we can do. Not really for public consumption. But if you've got some weed, or even some ambien, go ahead and press play. I tried to get a psychedelic video for it to play along to. I think that will be the secret to our success.

Oh look, I can update the software in my Vypyr. I don't really know what the software updates though.

*Old joke. From a Monsignor I knew once. "I promised God I'd give up girls, smoking, and drinking when I became a priest." Takes a puff of his cigarette. "I gave up girls at least."


Chance Shirley said...

Lovely guitar tone.

I think I'd call it "The Mouse's Blues." I always think of a "waltz" as a 3/4 beat and a "blues" as a 12/8 beat. But maybe that is just me...

Andrew Bellware said...

Wow, thanks!

Yeah, I was kinda thinking of it as a 6/8 myself which is at LEAST a shuffle. ;-)